Breaking: Robert Altman dies at 81

posted at 11:39 am on November 21, 2006 by Allahpundit

Just across on Fox. What can you say to eulogize a man who once declared, “When I see an American flag flying, it’s a joke”?

Eh, “The Player” was good.

Update: Salute:

As an adolescent Altman was a cutup and hell-raiser — to the degree that his parents shipped him off to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo., during his junior year of high school. In 1945, he left the academy for the Army Air Force and what remained of World War II.

After training at a base camp in Southern California, Altman shipped out for the island of Morotai in the Dutch East Indies. There he spent the waning days of the war copiloting a B-24 and dropping payloads on Japanese positions. When he wasn’t doing that, he was playing poker with his fellow officers or bird-dogging nurses. Also, according to Altman, it’s when he began to consider a career in the movies: “The first time I ever thought about film was when I was overseas in the Second World War,” he told me. “I started writing radio plays. I was very interested in that. And then I started to write screenplays — not screenplays so much as stories to make movies from. Since then, it’s just been down the same road.”

Goldstein is a big Altman fan, from what I understand. This should coax an interesting post out of him.

Update: Our commenters are playing celebrity dead pool below. I’m outraged!


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Anyone seen “A Prairie Home Companion” yet? I just got it from Netflix and plan to watch it over the holiday vacation.

Slublog on November 21, 2006 at 11:43 AM

I was taught not to speak ill of the dead.
However,what is the book on the next two in the hat-trick of dead celebrities?

bbz123 on November 21, 2006 at 11:44 AM

Well, the next one, really. We did lose Jack Palance last week.

Slublog on November 21, 2006 at 11:46 AM

Right,forgot that one.
Him I’ll miss.

bbz123 on November 21, 2006 at 11:47 AM

A Prairie Home Companion will definitely win best picture now.

januarius on November 21, 2006 at 11:48 AM

Will the MSM be referring to him as one of the greatest “American Heroes” of our time? /sarc

kiakjones on November 21, 2006 at 11:51 AM

But as for who’s next in the hat trick?

Not sure. We can always pick from this list of celebrities over 85.

Slublog on November 21, 2006 at 11:51 AM

It don’t worry me.

EF on November 21, 2006 at 12:01 PM

A moment of silence to honor the dirty old man auteur who gave the greatest bottomless scene from a major actress in motion picture history.

Dudley Smith on November 21, 2006 at 12:03 PM

I liked Altman, but A Prairie Home Companion was awful. Really awful, given Altman’s age, I blame Garrison Kiellor, who if I recall, wrote the screenplay.

billy on November 21, 2006 at 12:06 PM

As a movie lover, I am deeply saddened by this news. Altman was one of the best of all American film-makers, and certainly one of the most influential. Short Cuts, Nashville, The Player, Tanner ’88, Secret Honor, and McCabe & Mrs. Miller are all essential classics.

No matter what his personal views were or what I think of them, I’ll miss Robert Altman. The Silver Screen has lost a little bit of its luster with his passing.

Olbgasm on November 21, 2006 at 12:08 PM

He claimed he would move to France if Bush was reelected. He later claimed he meant Paris, Texas.

americanpundit on November 21, 2006 at 12:11 PM

Yikes, we lost Jack Palance? How did I miss that?

marykatharine on November 21, 2006 at 12:17 PM

I thought The Long Goodbye with Elliot Gould was pretty funny.

EF on November 21, 2006 at 12:22 PM

We have a Peris locality here in California, not that far South-Eeast from Hollywood…not making excuses for what he said.

All the dead were wonderful. The older we get the greater we were. And so it is for all us mortals.

My favorites are those who threaten to leave this country and then never do, and the Europeans who move here, criticize everything, then go back and can’t wait to move back here. Too many samples to cite.

Entelechy on November 21, 2006 at 12:26 PM

Oooh… we have a death pool here at the office. That list could come in handy.

DaveS on November 21, 2006 at 12:38 PM

Update: Our commenters are playing celebrity dead pool below. I’m outraged!

Pah. Make your picks.

I think it’s going to be Karl Malden.

Slublog on November 21, 2006 at 12:44 PM

Sean Connery? He’s already been declared dead once, maybe it’ll be real eventually :P

lorien1973 on November 21, 2006 at 12:50 PM

“There he spent the waning days of the war copiloting a B-24 and dropping payloads on Japanese positions.”

Dropping payloads? I guess they couldn’t bring themselves to actually say he’d dropped bombs on other human beings…

jeffshultz on November 21, 2006 at 12:57 PM

“Overrated” doesn’t begin to describe it. Time will not be kind to Altman.

Halley on November 21, 2006 at 2:15 PM

The DUers and the KOSkids and other on-line libby-dems act like morons whenever a conservative passes away. They ridicule, say “good riddance,” and othewise insult them.

One only has to recall their behavior when Reagan died to see my point.

It is unseemly.

I would hope that WE don’t behave like THEM.

I did not care for many of his comments in life. And I most certainly won’t eulogize him in death. But we, each of us, wormfood in the end. And he is beyond anything we can say about him anyway.

He is in the hands of his creator.

georgej on November 21, 2006 at 2:42 PM

Altman was one of the best of all American film-makers, and certainly one of the most influential. Short Cuts, Nashville, The Player, Tanner ‘88, Secret Honor, and McCabe & Mrs. Miller are all essential classics. — Olbgasm

…can’t say that I was too enthused by his personal habits, tastes or utterances, but within the strict scope of the legacy of his work, I’d have to disagree with you strenuously. This guy was one of the most over-rated film makers Hollyweird ever produced!

McCabe & Mrs. Miller was almost unwatchable. M*A*S*H was self-indulgent and so dated now as to be a parody of itself. Nashville was one long slander from beginning to end, sliming not only Nashville but those who enjoy country music. Furthermore, it was a self-indulgent swipe at America in general.

The work of his that I did see warned me off from his later work, like Short Cuts, The Player, Prêt-à-Porter, etc. I stayed away from Gosford Park, but caught a bit of it on cable, and was gobsmacked. It was actually *ENTERTAINING*. The sun shines on even the mangiest dog’s butt once in a while.

I didn’t like his politics, fey way of presenting himself, and his self-indulgent movie style…but I don’t like Martin Sheen’s politics but he impresses me mightily as an artist. Richard Curtis is a pretty doctrinaire British chablis socialists, making sure to include PC features in his films, but I love his work. If you don’t like the personalities or pasts of Hollywoodies, you’re apt not to see many movies…and I like movies.

So, I didn’t like him…didn’t want him to *DIE*, though. he could’ve retired…that would’ve be enough for me. So, I think that he probably did this to spite me.

Puritan1648 on November 21, 2006 at 3:48 PM

I really don’t know much about Altman, I havn’t even watched his movies.

Forty six bombing missions in a B24.
Amazing.

Speakup on November 21, 2006 at 9:31 PM

Good bye……….jerk ass communist !

oldelpasoan on November 22, 2006 at 11:20 AM